Is Narendra Modi one of the most decorated Indian prime ministers in recent years? In the past five years, PM Modi has had six global awards conferred upon him by organisations such as the United Nations and countries such as South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Significantly, four of the honours have come from Muslim countries, underlining his efforts at boosting India’s ties with the Islamic world.
On the other hand, his predecessor Manmohan Singh received just one international award – the Grand Cordon of the Order of Paulownia Flowers, Japan’s second highest civilian award. Manmohan Singh received the award for his work in furthering India-Japan ties with the landmark 2009 strategic partnership between the two countries.
He, however, received the award after stepping down as the prime minister in May 2014.
The most recent honour PM Modi received was on April 4, 2019, when the UAE royalty conferred its highest medal – the Zayed Medal on him. The award was in recognition of his “pivotal role” in strengthening ties between the two nations.
It is still not clear whether PM Modi, now in the midst of a hectic election campaign, will be travelling to Dubai to collect the award. To receive the award in the UAE, the prime minister would need special permission from the Election Commission of India (ECI) to travel as the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is in place.
PM Modi was conferred with the ‘Grand Collar of the State of Palestine’ in February 2018 after he became the first Indian prime minister to make an official visit to the Arab state.
In June 2014, he was conferred with Afghanistan’s highest civilian award, the Amir Amanullah Khan Award. In 2016, he was conferred with Saudi Arabia’s highest civilian honour – the King Abdulaziz Sash – by King Salman bin Abdulaziz in the Saudi royal court.
Last September, he was awarded the United Nations’s highest environmental honour – the UN Champions of the Earth Award 2018. PM Modi received the award on October 3 for championing the International Solar Alliance and pledging to end the use of plastic by 2022.
Again, in October 2018, PM Modi was conferred with the Seoul Peace Prize for ‘Modinomics’ for reducing social and economic disparity between the rich and the poor. The award is conferred biennially to individuals who have made their mark through their contributions to the harmony of mankind, reconciliation between nations and to world peace.